The Stevens County Times received a guest column with a request to publish this past week. That’s not unusual but this submission deserved some extra attention because of its subject matter.

The column was submitted by Drew Johnson of the National Center for Public Policy Research. The column said the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow the sale of E15 year round was going to cause problems for many of the cars Americans drive. Johnson said “Most cars can't handle this high-ethanol gasoline. So, by pushing more E15 into the fuel supply, the EPA could wreck vehicle engines and put drivers on the hook for costly repairs. Let's hope officials reverse their decision before it's too late. The average vehicle is more than a decade old. High-ethanol fuels can damage these older-model cars and trucks. Nearly three in four vehicles aren't compatible with E15.”

Johnson also cites inroads in fracking and horizontal drilling as positives for consumers and the U.S. fuel supply. He also says that producing corn-based ethanol is not as environmentally friendly as other “advanced” biofuels.

Corn-based ethanol producers have worked hard to reduce the amount of water and energy used to produce ethanol. It remains a cost-effective, environmentally friendly fuel choice for consumers. E15 is the same.

Readers should recall that last week, Aug. 10, we published a story announcing that Denco II received a Minnesota Department of Agriculture grant that the ethanol producer would use to upgrade its E15 service.

Johnson’s message doesn’t resonate here as we have an ethanol plant producing a renewable fuel that benefits our economy. It also doesn’t resonate in a community that is pursuing renewable energy and related goals under the Morris Model.

The submission email said Johnson’s commentary was recently published in the Houston Chronicle. We are speculating, but we think that it may have gotten a better reception in Texas than in rural Minnesota.